What do employees want? Could it be recognition? [Infographic]

Jacob Kache http://www.octanner.com 2m 508 #recognition

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A recent study, by Towers Watson, of employees from a number of corporations attempted to gauge the need of employee recognition programs. The study looked at employees from every level of the workforce, from the lowest level to senior management. Here are some of the study’s most interesting findings:

  • 56% of employees in senior management say that their company is above average in terms of recognition, whereas only 35% in middle management and 23% of staff said the same thing.
  • Only about 14% reported that they are satisfied with their jobs.
  • Over 60% reported not feeling motivated to drive their employer’s business goals.
  • Over 79% of people cited a lack of appreciation as a reason for leaving their previous job.
  • Only 7% of employees say that their company is great at appreciating excellent work and only 12% say that they receive frequent appreciation for great work.

Appreciation Changes Everything: What do employees want? Could it be recognition?

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Key highlights from research:


A gap exists between what a company thinks it’s doing to appreciate great work and what its employees see happening on a day-to-day basis.

  • 7% of people say their company is excellent at appreciating great work
  • 12% of people say they receive frequent appreciation for great work

“For recognition to be effective, managers must clearly define performance expectations, and, with clarity, convey to employees what shape the rewards for performance will take.” – Towers Watson Global Recognition Study

Percentage of people from different parts of the organization who say their company is above average at appreciation:

  • Senior Management: 56%
  • Middle Management: 35%
  • Staff: 23%

Job Satisfaction:

  • only 14% are very satisfied with their jobs
  • over 60% do NOT feel motivated to drive their employers’ business goals
  • over 79% of people cite a lack of appreciation as a key reason for leaving jobs

People leave their managers, not their companies.

What do employees want? Some form of recognition. Every 7 days.

How well do leaders meet that expectation?

  • 16% at least weekly recognition
  • 34% monthly recognition
  • 51% once a quarter or less recognition

Employees need to know leaders are aware of their efforts & accomplishments because when… efforts are noticed, they are repeated.

What is preventing leaders from recognizing more often?

  • They don’t know what to do
  • It’s a hassle
  • They don’t know what is okay

What do leaders want to recognize?

  • Smart Ideas
  • Extra Effort
  • Team Success
  • Job Well Done
  • Great Service

What do leaders need?

  1. An easy way to recognize great work
  2. To know what is appropriate
  3. A variety of tools and ideas

“Organizations spend a considerable amount of time and money on leadership training, communication programs, and the like to enhance their leaders’ ability to connect with their people.

Engagement comes from the sense that my boss cares about me and appreciates my performance.” – Towers Watson Global Recognition Study

When leaders have the right tools, they express appreciation and recognize the accomplishments of their people more often. And when that happens, engagement soars. Appreciation changes everything.


O.C. Tanner appreciate.

Jacob Kache is a Consultant for OC Tanner, the #1 provider of employee recognition solutions and service awards.



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